Gelman was a Variety staffer from 1977 to 1992.
Born Morris Gelman in Brooklyn, he began his career in the New York City mailroom of radio’s Mutual Broadcasting System in 1948. After two years in the Army, he worked for five years at the New York Post as an assistant to syndicated columnist Earl Wilson and later as a police reporter. He also was a journalist at the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper.
He continued his career as features editor at the monthly Theater Magazine and was a member of the Drama Critics Circle. Later, he was editorial director at United Business Publications and Japanese publisher Dempa Publications.
Gelman spent 12 years as senior correspondent for weekly trade Broadcasting Magazine (now Broadcasting & Cable), and was west coast bureau chief for Advertising Age, where he helped establish its print weekly trade magazine Electronic Media (later known as TV Week). Gelman also wrote for Animation Magazine.
During his Variety tenure, he was based in Los Angeles and covered TV broadcasting, writing news stories as well as columns. While broadcast TV was the main focus when he started, Gelman quickly expanded his beat to write about the quickly changing industry, when Ted Turner pioneered the idea of basic cable and services like HBO introduced the idea of pay-cable channels.
Though he started in traditional newspapers in N.Y., he embraced the changes that occurred in both journalism and entertainment. Gelman remained unflappable as he dealt with TV executives, and he only seemed to get angry when he perceived someone being treated unfairly.
Gelman was one of the chief interviewers for the Archive of American Broadcasting at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He ran his own marketing and media research firm in the 1990s and co-wrote (with Gene Accas) the 1998 book “The Best in Television: 50 Years of Emmys.” He retired in 2000.
He is survived by Marisa, his wife of 65 years; two sons; and two grandchildren.